Elections B.C. asked to look into potential for online voting
The B.C. government says it wants to explore the potential for allowing voters to cast ballots online during elections in the province.
Elections B.C. has been asked to convene an independent panel to look into the issue of Internet voting, according to a news release from the province today (August 9).
The independent panel would be appointed to examine how other jurisdictions handle online voting in local and provincial elections and focus on any technological or logistical problems.
"Our province is widely recognized as being technologically progressive and a leader in open government initiatives,” Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond said in the release.
“If the independent panel determines we can maintain the utmost electoral integrity, I'm optimistic Internet voting could increase accessibility for British Columbians to participate in the democratic process,” Bond said.
Bond officially requested Elections B.C. look into the matter in a letter to chief electoral officer Keith Archer.
The idea of adopting online voting has already received support from the City of Vancouver and other municipalities in the province.
However, the B.C. government last year rejected a proposal to allow an online-voting pilot project during the 2011 civic election in Vancouver.
At the time, the province expressed support for the idea but cited the need for a significant amount of legislative change.
Supporters of online voting argue the practice has the potential to increase accessibility and boost voter turnout.
However, critics claim it is vulnerable to problems like hacking and difficulty verifying the identity of voters.
The news release from the province did not include any details about when the independent panel’s report might be completed.